Bluff in chess?

grischuk_bluffIt’s important in every chess game to have a plan but it’s also important to know your opponent’s plan. You can guess it if you know the opening theory or you can think about the sequence of previous moves but even body language can be a big help. I call it a bluff when I know what the opponent is going to play and I play something in response which can be really good or really bad for me depending on if the opponent follows his plan or changes it. My experience is that humans tend not to change strategy from one move to another (and probably that’s our biggest weakness against computers). But anyway, I believe that in human chess sometimes it really worths to risk and make a bluff. Let’s see the following example:

In this position White was preparing an attack against the a7 and b7 pawns for a long time. After the last move Qa4 now b7 is hanging and Nd7 is a threat after which Nxb8 and Qxa7 is White’s plan.

What's the bluff?

What's the bluff?

Observing the opponent’s eye movement I was sure that he’s intending to play Nd7 on the next move so I set up my bluff by playing Rc7?! Seemingly it only defends b7 but it does not prevent Nd7 so White played that after which came Qd5+ and White resigned. When setting up the bluff I also considered that horizontal threats are more difficult to see and also that if White plays the correct Bf4 then Qd5+-Kh2-Rc6-Bxb8-Rxb8-Qxa7-Rcc8-Nd3-Nc6 and Black is still in the game however White should be better. There is always a risk, but it just gives an extra (very human) dimension to the game which I like very much. So my question is: do you bluff in chess? And should you?

This post is intended to be a starting point of an open discussion so your comments are welcome below this post here.

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